Ibibio Sound Machine blasted onto my speakers last year with their fantastic album “Uyai”. The mixture of 80’s mass production, modern day technology and tons of African percussion made it a rapturous winner. Rounding off the era and transitioning to the next one is the EP “Eyio” which takes everything great about the band and continues to showcase it.
After the jazzy drum intro “Hearts Beat Like A Drum” we get “Imma” with its funky basses, fuzzy synths, crisp electric guitars and Eno Williams’ soulful and powerful voice. Her Nigerian roots shine through with the calls and lyrics but her London current residence is clear elsewhere. it’s a terrible analogy but I’m going to make it anyway. If heyday Gloria Estefan came from Nigeria and embraced all her roots and all today’s tech – Ibibio Sound Machine would be what you’d get. There’s a distinct humour as well as “Uyai” is a track that is on this EP and not the album, but Eyio is the name of this EP but their song titled that is on the album. “Uyai” is a soulful swaying folk-like tale that reminds me of Hawaii and their traditional folk songs wrapped up in pure electronica and thick bass lines. It’s soothing and warm like a cuddle but with a kick to it too. “A Forest” rounds off the EP in perfect driving style. It’s a little darker and noir in tone with synth brass stabs dramatically calling out chords whilst crazy ripped up wooden percussion skittles across the speakers between vocal lines. It’s probably my favourite of the tracks on the EP although its the least representative of the bands output to date.
Fans of Ibibio Sound Machine need this EP without question as the skill and groove on display here is top notch. Newcomers can also start here too but I know you’ll want the album as soon as you’ve finished. Superb.
Recommended Track: Imma